R. Kelly Files $75 Million Lawsuit, Charging Jay-Z With 'Sabotaging' Tour

By | November 2, 2004 at 12:00 AM

New York – Attorneys for R&B star R. Kelly filed a $75 million lawsuit today charging rapper Jay-Z and his Marcy Projects production company with deliberately sabotaging the two artists’ “Best of Both Worlds Tour.”

The suit accuses Jay-Z and Marcy Projects of intentionally causing a series of production snafus and then physically assaulting R. Kelly and some members of his entourage with pepper spray.

It also levels breach-of-contract charges against Jay-Z, Marcy Projects, and Atlanta Worldwide Touring Company, the tour promoter.

The lawsuit was filed in New York Supreme Court two days after the promoter, acting on instructions from Jay-Z and Marcy Projects, cancelled the tour and barred R. Kelly from further performances, including an October 30 show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

According to the lawsuit, R. Kelly’s late arrival at a Chicago show on September 30, his absence from a Cincinnati show on October 1, and technical problems at an October 23 show in St. Louis were all the result of intentional sabotage by Jay-Z’s lighting director, acting at the behest of Jay-Z.

This sabotage resulted in R. Kelly having to hire his own lighting director and work all night to solve technical problems with the lighting and logistics for the tour.

Even after R. Kelly’s efforts to overcome the technical problems, Jay-Z’s lighting director continued to cause problems with “inexplicably flubbed” lighting cues.

The suit also reveals that Jay-Z himself walked out of a show early, leaving a performance in Memphis on October 17 in order to travel to New York to attend a birthday party for hip-hop star Usher.

R. Kelly’s own lighting director took over the lighting duties for the “Best of Both Worlds Tour” tour at an October 29 concert at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.

The show went off flawlessly that night.

But at a Madison Square Garden show the following night, R. Kelly saw two men with guns in the audience and left the stage fearing for his life, the lawsuit says.

R. Kelly agreed to resume his performance after police were called, but on his way back to the stage he and members of his entourage were assaulted with pepper spray wielded by an associate of Jay-Z identified as Tyran (Ty Ty) Smith, the lawsuit charges.

The suit seeks $15 million in monetary damages that resulted from cancellation of the tour and the exclusion of R. Kelly from performing as well as $60 million in punitive damages from the three defendants.

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